It Came From Saturday Night

When you sleep in four-hour cycles, the primetime schedule doesn’t have much meaning to you. I have praised digital video recorders as amazing tools many times, but it is a pop culture life preserver when you are a new parent. I’ve been recording everything and am trying to catch up. Some more thoughts on the season so far:

Back when the fall season was announced it was a surprise that there was not one, but two shows paying tribute to Saturday Night Live, which is hardly breaking comedy ground these days. The only thing I’ve heard people talking about SNL in the past couple of years is Ashlee Simpson’s lip synch and Lazy Sunday. Anyway, it seems after 32 years they are again some sort of cultural zeitgeist.

The Aaron Sorkin created Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is almost an exact replica of The West Wing, in terms of tone and pace. It is lightning quick and everyone is so damned sincere. It also appears that everyone who writes comedy are morose characters who never, ever laugh – clowns crying on the outside. I’ve seen three episodes so far and I’m willing to try more, but it could certainly lighten up a smidge.

Former SNL head writer Tina Fey’s 30 Rock, which debuted tonight, takes a very different tact, going for sitcom laughs to show the backstage workings of a live, weekly sketch show. Fey plays a head writer (natch) whose show is taken over by a network executive played by a bombastic Alec Baldwin, who is the best part of the show by far. It’s only been one episode so it may need to find its feet, but despite the different approaches, both shows are treading similar turf. Fey might have the comedy chops, but Sorkin has her on the writing.

This year we also decided to start watching The Amazing Race and I don’t understand why everyone thinks it is so, um, amazing – it seems more contrived than Survivor. All the players rush headlong towards a destination, freaking out along the way, only to be stopped at the entrance to a ticket booth that doesn’t open for hours. Soon all the teams have arrived and they all get on the bus at the same time, completely negating any advantage winning the last challenge had. How pointless.

I must admit that I do enjoy the image of the asshole American tourists (“I’m tired of talking to foreigners,” says Rob, while in Vietnam) and the conniving beauty queens – the casting is excellent. I just wish it were more of a race.


  1. wasnt it ashlee simpson that lip synced?

    ah who cares they both suck

    I like Studio 60 alot but maybe it is because of my TV background.

  2. It was indeed Ashlee and I've made the change. Thanks for the catch - I really should post so late at night. ;)

  3. Set your Tivo to catch the new season of Doctor Who. I happened to catch it this summer and it's really great TV.

    Monday's at 8 on the CBC - not that you'd ever see an ad.

  4. I haven't watched Doctor Who - either the new or old series. Maybe I should give it a shot. The only space series I've ever dedicated myself to was the many variations of Trek.

  5. My god man! You haven't been watching Battlestar Galactica?

  6. I am really liking that Studio 60 but I feel that it may get canceled very soon...they are like losing a million viewers a week...awful really and especially as it costs $2.5m a episode!!!